SNORKEL WITH TURTLES AT COOK ISLAND
If swimming alongside sea turtles is high on your bucket list, then a trip to Cook Island with Watersports Guru is for you. Just a short boat trip off the southern Gold Coast, Cook Island is perfect for divers and snorkelers of all experience levels. What’s more, it is the one place in Australia where you are guaranteed to see a range of species of turtles. If you’re lucky, you might even encounter dolphins or whales too.
Explore colourful hard and soft corals and see tropical fish, stingrays, wobbegongs and maybe even befriend a reef shark. Watersports Guru are a team of ocean adventurers passionate about marine conservation and education. From August – October, you’ll be able to Join skipper Chris and Marine biologist Crisitiana on an amazing up close and educational experience with whales, dolphins and turtles. Don’t miss the boat. This intimate tour is limited to only 9 people at a time, so pre-book online.
SNAP A SELFIE WITH SKIPPY
Ever since Taylor Swift famously snapped herself with a kangaroo, people have been flooding to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary to do the same. Kangaroos are perfect supermodels too, thanks to their holding gaze and inquisitive nature. Not convinced? Check out #kangarooselfie.
SURF WITH DOLPHINS
Catch a wave with the most playful creatures in the ocean. Dolphins are often spotted dropping in on surfers, particularly when big swells hit the Gold Coast. Although not guaranteed, it makes for a pretty incredible story and we think that’s reason enough to get out on your board. See more here.
Each year from June to November around 20,000 humpback whales pass the iconic beaches of the Gold Coast along the Humpback Highway, bound for the warmer waters of North Queensland. There are some great onshore lookouts to admire these gentle giants from a distance. Or, if you’re seeking a more intimate encounter with the largest living mammals on Earth, board a vessel for a tour with any one of the Coast’s top operators.
Forget Pokemon Go, bird watching (or ‘birding’) has been rebranded, becoming the latest trend to hit Londoners. Fortunately for the Gold Coast, the nearby World Heritage-listed Lamington National Park is home to Australia’s largest collection of sub-tropical birds, making it a birder’s dream. A visit to Lamington by eagle-eyed naturalists could result in a sighting of the rare Alberts Bowerbird which is not found anywhere else on earth, the Paradise Rifle, Rufous Scrubbird or even the Regent Bowerbird.
Taking birding to the next level, enthusiasts and high profile guests flock to O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat each year for Australia’s biggest and longest running birding event. Celebrating its 40th Anniversary, Birdweek 2018 will not disappoint. From 11-17 November, birdies will be treated to a week of birding tours, more than 100 hours of informative sessions and more than 100km of bush walking through the Lamington National Park. Throughout the year, O’Reilly’s run Birds of Prey shows, featuring among other birds, Australia’s largest bird of prey, the wedge-tailed eagle.
A BIRD’S EYE VIEW OF THE CURRUMBIN WILDLIFE HOSPITAL
The Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary Hospital treats more than 8,000 sick, injured and orphaned wildlife patients every year, making it one of the busiest wildlife hospitals in the world. Visitors to the Sanctuary can get a bird’s eye view of the vets in action through the floor to ceiling windows. See x-rays and ultrasounds and experience veterinary procedures taking place from a surgeon’s point of view by a camera mounted on the surgical light. Each admission into the park goes towards helping fund the not-for-profit animal hospital.
BECOME A SEA WORLD RESCUE RANGER
Rescue Rangers experience an exclusive behind the scenes visit with Sea World’s resident rescued animals. Get up close and personal with rescued seals, turtles and so much more as you learn about the threats to marine life and what you can do to help protect them in the future.
Located on a 2,500 acre working cattle property in the beautiful Gold Coast hinterland, Numinbah Valley Adventure Trails sees guests exploring the spectacular valley on horseback, stopping along the way for tea and damper – and those who wish to stay are treated to a unique glamping experience on the shores of the Nerang River.
Natural Bridge at Springbrook National Park is nature at its absolute best and a great place to see the famous Australian glow worms. Located within Springbrook National Park, Natural Bridge makes for a brilliant day trip, but it’s after sunset that the natural rock formation really comes to life. Magical glow worms can be seen dotting the rock formation and on summer nights, luminous fireflies and fungi can also be seen.
A RANGER FOR A DAY
Foster your young one’s fascination with wildlife by letting them be a ranger for a day at heritage-listed David Fleay Wildlife Park. The ‘Junior Rangers’ receive an access all areas pass, getting up close and personal with some of Australia’s amazing native wildlife. They also learn how to protect native animals and roll up their sleeves to experience animal husbandry. The park plays an important role in demonstrating the conservation initiatives of David Fleay, who established the property in 1951.